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I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

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Comments

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,271
    Now contemplate, if you will, the Corvair. I can't remember where the gas tank exactly was, but the filler was about 6 inches in front of the driver's door so the tank was up there somewhere. It was a potent incentive to not rear-end the car in front of you.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,271
    the Falcon was probably looking pretty ancient by '63, and it couldn't have gone on another year with that rounded body.

    I suspect that they couldn't put a V-8 into the 60-'63 body without major structural reinforcement. The V-8 debuted in the Falcon along with the '64 body.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    I suspect that they couldn't put a V-8 into the 60-'63 body without major structural reinforcement. The V-8 debuted in the Falcon along with the '64 body

    Hmm, I hadn't thought about that. Was the '64 really that structurally different, though? I thought it was just a facelift? And, I was always under the impression that Ford made their smallblock as small as they did, specifically so it would fit in the compact cars?

    IIRC, a V-8 also wouldn't fit in the engine bay, initially, of the '63-66 era Valiant/Dart. I think they had to modify the engine bay in '64 to accommodate it. The 273 "LA" V-8 wasn't particularly small compared to a Chevy or Ford smallblock, but it was fairly light, at least.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,351
    The V8 was introduced in the Falcon line for the '63 model year.

    I was always surprised that until midyear '63, you couldn't even get a V8 in a Rambler Classic, yet an American. In fact, you couldn't even get a Classic or Ambassador hardtop in '63. I do think it's a good basic bodystyle though.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,909
    Saw a Fiat 2000 Spider and a Mercury Topaz this afternoon.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,271
    The V8 was introduced in the Falcon line for the '63 model year.

    I am not doing well today. When I cast my mind back I remember seeing the V-8 symbol on '63 Sprints. I made the mistake of looking in a brochure in the Old Car Manual Project web site and seeing only sixes offered. The brochure must have been from earlier in the year. Oh well, so goes my theory.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    jay Leno has a '63 Sprint. You can see it on YouTube. Naturally, internally modified to resemble the Ford Monte Carlo Rally cars.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,000
    1958-63 was not a high point in styling for American cars by any stretch of the imagination. There were some exceptions, but as an "era", not so good

    In all fairness, that assessment probably varies based on your perspective and reference points though. It was certainly an era where style changes (planned obsolescence) and customer excitement peaked. Model line changes, or at least noticeable updates meant consumers got curious about those dealer fenced off new car holding areas each fall and the soaped windows before model introductions tended to bring in the buyers. For example, in that relatively short period of time the Ford Thunderbird went from a two-seater to the Squarebird to the Bulletbird to the more formal 64 models in the fall of 63. The Big 3 certainly offered a lot of styling variation as well. A 61 Plymouth looked worlds different from a 61 Chevy or the relatively conservative 61 Ford. Same went for a Chrysler versus a Buick or Mercury. In 60/61 the Big 3 went seriously into compacts, followed shortly thereafter by intermediates whether by design at Ford (Fairlane) or by accident or screw up at Chrysler (downsized Fury and Polara).

    Personally, I liked all the differences and excitement back then. Granted, with that much change going on some of the models came off poorly, but many were quite nice looking as well. Consider a 61 or 62 GM bubble top, a 61/62 Lincoln Continental, or a 63 Riviera for example. The 63 Stingray was a head turner when it came out. Virgil Exner certainly created excitement and attention, albeit at both ends of the bell curve sometimes! I think Bill Mitchell is still one of the best designers in postwar American automobiles. Admittedly, most of the cars during that frame of reference probably didn't match the art and design success of many 57 or 65's and they certainly weren't decades earlier Pierce Arrows, Packards, or Cords - but they were produced and priced where the masses could afford them. I'll bet there are a lot of auto executives that would like to have that era back again!

    But I will give you that someone who lived through that era may well have a different opinion than someone younger looking back at those models. Nostalgia and association can affect attitude, but I'm trying to be objective about it. Ironically, I think some of the younger generation at old car shows are taken in a bit by some of the more extreme designs at old car shows. Observing, it seems like some of them look past a model we old timers might consider a classic, like a 63 Impala, and focus instead on something like a 60 Dodge or 58 Edsel. Maybe its the creative Asian Anime influence! Regardless of individual opinions though, it's fun stuff.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    well sure depends on what you're looking at, which is why I used the word "era" (I think I did anyway).

    There were a handful of nice looking cars but generally the styling was, as you say, very offensive to contemporary eyes---we all knew when to hold our noses in other words, and when to applaud.

    I myself prefer styling that is harmonious. I don't like outrageous "birthday cake" designs---it's a cheap way to get attention and it ages badly.

    I think 58-63 was the Spinal Tap of car design :P
  • berriberri Posts: 4,000
    I won't be around, but I sure wonder how today's cars (and trucks!) will be viewed 50 years from now? There is a lot of "Audi" sameness in so many models. Many of them look nice, but can lack differentiation. Actually, in that respect it reminds me a bit of the early 50's, although I think the big difference there is that you could pretty easily tell GM from Ford Motors from Chrysler Motors products in the early 50's, whereas today sometimes the different manufacturers product line ups can look similar to others. Ironically, I have the same attitude toward airliners. I like the old propliners and early jetliners better than a 747 or Airbus. Like cars, the latter are better equipment, but they just lack the panache or something of the past. Sometimes it's just hard to separate the heart from the brain I suppose (the old business school quant head versus poet syndrome)! Looking at the old liveries and uniforms can be as telling on culture and societal changes as looking at old cars and their ads and brochures.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    I think 58-63 was the Spinal Tap of car design

    Maybe if you want to generalize. But, for 1958, I thought Chrysler was a bit late to the ugly party. Their cars were simply mild facelifts of the successful 1957 lineup, and in some cases (Imperial, Dodge, Plymouth), I think were actually an improvement over their '57 counterparts! A '58 Chevy's not a bad looking car, and I don't think a Pontiac or Caddy is, either, although the Caddy was a bit heavy-handed compared to '57. And, I know I'm in the minority here, but I actually prefer the '58 Ford to the '57!

    '59 was the year it all bottomed out, but even here, I think there were some decent looking cars. The Pontiac, Olds, Mercury, Desoto, and Chrysler weren't too bad looking. The Chevy was kinda wild. Ford was heavy-handed, but that T-bird inspired look was really popular. The Plymouth was looking a bit out there, like they didn't know what do do to facelift the '57 body.

    By '60, Ford and GM were starting to tone it down. So were Chrysler and Desoto and Dodge, but I have no idea what they were thinking, with the '60 Plymouth. My theory is they made it look ugly on purpose so people would pay a few extra bucks for a Dodge!

    By '61, GM and Ford were getting downright tasteful, but Chrysler, again late to follow a trend, decided to make 1961 their equivalent of GM's 1959!

    I think GM really hit their stride by '62-63. Fords and Lincolns were attractive for the most part, if conservative in some cases. However, sometimes it seemed like they didn't know what to do with Mercury. Whereas GM could make you see that a Pontiac, Olds, or Buick was a step above a Chevy, often a Mercury just looked, well, different, but not necessarily upscale, from a Ford.

    Chrysler was starting to have the same problem with Dodge and Plymouth, which were starting to become parallels of each other, rather than Dodge being a step up.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    Well some people like Elvis paintings done on velvet, or George Kincade, and this is their constitutional right, but there are basic principles to styling that I think should be met by anyone claiming to be a designer.

    Everything on a car should be there for a reason.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    True, but I don't think that everything was utter chaos in 1963 and then in '64 it was suddenly rainbows, lollipops, and unicorn farts.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,000
    but there are basic principles to styling that I think should be met by anyone claiming to be a designer.

    In general I don't disagree with that thought, but perhaps we might differ a bit on what those "principles" are. I think you're hitting the meat of the bell curve in that concept. However, like inventors, the truly great and remembered designers are those who can go beyond that box and differentiate (the edges of the bell curve so to speak). Of course that means failures and great successes sometimes. I think Exner hit it in 57 and swung and missed in 61, but he's remembered. Many stylists are not, even if their work was successful. Now Bill Mitchell had far more hits than misses (and he's a favorite of mine), but Harley Earl was a leader in implementing automotive design so he probably gets more recognition in the history books.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    Well sure there is "vitality", even if misplaced vitality, but then there is chaos, ugliness, laziness and inattention to function.

    A car is, after all, a CAR---the design should have a basic intelligence. If the back half of the car has no relation to the front half, that is not intelligent. It might be "fun", or "outrageous" or "so bad it's good", but it's not intelligent.

    If just "getting attention" was a sign of talent, god knows who we would call intelligent on TV. :surprise:

    EXAMPLE:

    First, HARMONY:

    image

    Second: CHAOS:

    image
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    no idea of the trans, but there is one of those at a house just outside my neighborhood. pretty sure that year.

    guy has a number of old cars none of which look all that nice. Some 50s Mopar, a 73ish Barracuda, the t Bird, and a couple others under cheap tarps that I am not sure what they are.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    A 59 T-Bird with "3 on the tree" is pretty rare.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,271
    A 59 T-Bird with "3 on the tree" is pretty rare.

    And with overdrive, yet. Actually that would be kind of a kick. Probably gets comparatively good highway mileage (note the use of the term 'comparatively'). I am assuming that it has power steering. Otherwise, dealing with the steering and the stick would be kind of gnarly.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

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